Martha Collins

Leaving graduate school in the early 1970’s, I envied friends who had a cabinet shop.  It resonated deep with me, that at the end of the day there was something  created  that did not exist before.

After a short internship as a carpenters apprentice I was able to be trained by the State of Michigan as a cabinetmaker.  Title 9 had just gone through and I was the first woman in this program.  It was wonderful!  Two and half years of instruction, everyday from 8 to 3.  Upon graduation I was hired by the John Widdicomb Furniture Company of Grand Rapids as a management trainee in their sample room. 


I had also been apprenticing in a shop where wood jewelry was made.  It was here that I learned about exotic woods and how to dye maple veneer.  It was a “what if” moment when we discovered how to make the Helical Mosaic Chevron Bracelet.  We had taken a fletch of matched rosewood veneer and shifted the pieces, laminated and turned it.  Upon examination the maestro of the shop said ” It looks like I made my own grain”  and the other apprentice said  ” What if we did this with a laminate material”!!  

And thus it began:  this incredible journey exploring a wonderful process of laminating different specie of wood and dyed veneers and turning on a lathe.                                

Having attended the University of Oregon, I knew I wanted to live in the Northwest, so in 1983 my family moved to Sequim to a house and shop that I designed and built.  Here along with cabinets and furniture I produced a line of bracelets that I offered through galleries along the West coast.  In 1995 I was able to work for Admiral Marine in Port Townsend building the interiors of yachts.  It was challenging good work  and I enjoyed it.                                                                                                                  

Since 2000 I have been back in my own shop, producing a full line of jewelry, bowls and tableware.  I show my work at the finest craft shows in the country, including the American Craft Exposition in Glencoe IL and the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft show. Classes and seminars are offered in my studio and in 2020 an ecommerce site was added.

 I enjoy teaching and have taught at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking for 10 years, at Pratt Art Center in Seattle, and  BARN on Bainbridge Island. I have given presentations to several different Northwest chapters of the American Association of Woodturners and at the AAW Segmenter’s Symposium in 2018.

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June 2024